Before diving into tonight's recap, I want to serve up a brief disclaimer. I'm only writing more about tonight's loss than I've written about the recent spate of wins because I actually have time to do so. I've had a hellish week and for the first time since the Hornets game last Thursday, finally had time to just watch a game without being distracted, take it all in and give it a thorough review.
And of course it was the worst game the Nuggets have played since the Cleveland game a few weeks ago.
So what should we make of this blowout loss at home to the NBA's version of "Jurassic Park"? Was it just an aberration in an otherwise terrific run of victories? Or does this loss, combined with the Hornets loss at home last Thursday, mean that our Nuggets just aren't as good as we think they are and still need to improve in many areas? My hunch is that its somewhere in the middle.
What scares me about tonight's outcome is that its yet another loss to a real NBA team. Excluding the Nuggets amazing victory at Boston, who exactly have the Nuggets beaten this season? At home, that would be the Mavericks, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Bucks, Bulls, Rockets (minus Tracy McGrady) and Raptors (whose players did everything in their power to get their coach fired...and succeeded!). And on the road, the Clippers (twice), Timberwolves, Spurs (minus two starters) and the Bobcats. In case you're scoring at home, those teams have won 40% of their games combined.
And the losses? Road games against the Warriors, Cavaliers, Jazz and Lakers. And home games against the Lakers, Spurs and Hornets. Those teams have won 58% of their games combined.
Again, I'm not trying to be overly negative here nor am I pushing the panic button after losing to a team of guys who kicked off the Cenozoic Era. But tonight's loss should be a reality check for the fans, the Denver sports media and hopefully for Coach Karl and the Nuggets players, too, that the Western Conference remains dangerous. Really dangerous.
Even though the Nuggets have had a great ride throughout the first quarter of the season, they're neck-and-neck with the Trailblazers and Jazz and only two games ahead of the ninth-seeded Suns. Its going to require a consistent, spirited effort and lots of focus for our Nuggets to secure something better than a seventh or eighth seed. And taking nights off at home just isn't going to cut it.